Hungry Company + Coffee Culture

When the tummy grumbles, so does the mouth.

I make quite a grand transition when I’m hungry: from smiley 20 year-old to 7 plates of pasta and murder.

This past weekend, my mom and I ventured north to Tampa/Clearwater to celebrate my sister’s birthday, nearly two weeks after the fact. We piled two duffles, two plush Dave the Minions, my trusty travel companion named Mr. Flurries, a cooler of baguette and wine, and a brown bag containing a hastily compiled breakfast of mine (cinnamon raisin bagel, fried egg, goat cheese, and turkey) into the little Cruze and headed up for a marvelous weekend.

My my bagel and coffee didn’t hold me over for a long time. Grumpy McGrumpson was roused from her sleep at around noon while we fought Clearwater traffic on our way to the beachfront. We passed by a Red Robin, some random and fairly uneasy-looking pizza joints, several Walgreens’ – a peculiar number, if you ask me. They were on almost as many corners as the Charlie Crist/Rick Scott campaign signs – and a Mexican cantina or two before landing at downtown Clearwater. By then, my stomach was rattling its handcuffs and pounding the cage. It needed some lunch.

I do not respond well to hunger. My mood plummets, my tolerance and patience flushes itself down the proverbial toilet. When we parked and were waiting for the ticket machine to spit out our receipt, I nearly pulled the contraption out of the ground and commenced gnawing. When we finally were on the move, I snapped at my mom and sister’s indecisiveness when we tried to figure out whether to J-walk or shuffle over to the crosswalk fixated maybe thirty or so feet away. Little things bother Hungry Kellie. I’d make a good stand-in for Godzilla.

The fun part is, once we reached Coffee Culture – our landing pad – I refused everything in the menu. “Nope, that sounds like typical, dry cafe food” was my ongoing reasoning. Stubbornness is a vice I keep in the front pocket of my purse. I don’t know if this is so much a disordered habit, or one brought on by the anxiety and stress of unfamiliar territory. Regardless, particularly at this stage in my attempt to normalize my relations with food, it’s not a tendency I wish to honor.

Regardless, the denial was present. My mom gave me an upset look, my sister a trademark sideways frown. I ordered a pumpkin mocha and we seated ourselves at this little circle of chairs near the entrance.

The sweet beverage lifted my spirits a bit, though. Chocolate-covered autumn. Ghirardeli meets spice.


My sister described it as “tasting like one of those autumn candles you burn at home,” but I disagree. She ordered a white mocha. I should have told her that it tasted like Santa’s beard (it was really good, too).

Grumbly stomach was satiated unexpectedly. Mom’s sandwich could have been listed as a Wonder of the World for its sheer girth. Lucky for me, the turkey BLT was neatly sliced in half, with an additional toasty bread slice wedged between the first two and layers of tomato, lettuce, bacon, and turkey.


I also got to munch on the pickle.



After lunch, I transformed into rosy-cheeked, happy Kellie of prior. Amazing how food can do that: it can be the line separating good days and bad, friendly camaraderie and silent brooding. Such an observation actually helped dig home the mental dynamic of restriction in which I was somewhat buried a month or so back. Temperament suffers when the mind, and the tummy, are squeezing every particle of nourishment from the body while awaiting replenishment. I’ve read about recovery, and one of the key insights sufferers of EDs offer is how much their dispositions improve as they gain weight and learn to feed themselves properly. Although I was not grossly underweight or far into a disorder, my habits were enough to inspire these changes. Full of food = full of life.

I try to remember this now whenever I’m tempted to ignore my hunger cues.

I must say, though, that coffee culture – the concept, not just this shop – has helped me. I value coffee breaks, with pastries or light lunch accompaniments. For some reason, I find this route very effective in my attempt to combat semi-restrictive cycles. I enjoy them almost sans guilt, perhaps because I connect such moments with pleasant company rather than calories. At Coffee Culture, that was quite easy to do. White mugs and heart-shaped foam art help tremendously.

A couple more photographic highlights from Coffee Culture and Clearwater Beach:




Coffee Culture is located at 454 Mandalay Avenue, Clearwater Beach, FL 33767. You can find them at This post is not sponsored.

What is the Karbach Koffeehouse feature? An open-minded weekly escapade to find fun, quirky, delicious coffee shops in the southwest Florida region – usually the Tampa area, for I commute to class at university and my sister lives close by. It is a celebration of all things caffeine, a hunt for the perfect chai, and a little boost for small businesses. It’s about camaraderie, expelling loose change, smiling, and embracing the simpler moments of life.


3 thoughts on “Hungry Company + Coffee Culture

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